Romantic Sensibility And Sympathy In An Oxford Companion To The Romantic Age

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Sympathy is the combination of Latin and Greek words, syn. "together" and pathos "feeling" which means fellow feeling. It is taken as the awareness, thoughtful, and response to the distress or need of another human being. This empathic concern is taken by a change in viewpoint, from a personal perspective to the perspective of another group or individual who is in need. This transition helps to being responsive to others’ feelings, emotions, and positions which lead to an accommodation of their perspective.
This response, according to C. Taylor, is ”primitive” by which he means the “immediate and unthinking” reactions unexplainable ”in terms of some more fundamental feature of human nature” (Taylor, 1999, p. 73). Despite the responses being primitive, they lead to emotional closeness and enhanced understanding. This illuminating intimacy conduces towards identification with the suffering of another person. This identification is preceded by awareness of the person’s woes a bond which helps vivify moral life. The new lease of life that comes to societal morality is because of the evaluation and appraisal accruing from the sensibility of the person gazing at the other.

2.2 Romantic Sensibility and Sympathy
In An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age, sensibility is the means where the middle class defines itself against a lower class and magnifies the pleasure of a secret comparison between non-suffers and suffers. To the eighteenth-century writer, it was a powerful tool to
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